There have been some interesting discussions at the Washington Monthly recently over the amount of money paid to athletic coaches at American universities. Apparently more than 50 football coaches at big Division I programs make over $1 million a year. This is, well, puzzling, given that the average full professor at a research university earns an annual salary of $115,000. But professors have job security.
From the New York Times comes news that Northeastern University recently fired its football coach—and eliminated his job altogether:
When Northeastern’s football coach, Rocky Hager, was called to meet with Athletic Director Peter Roby on Sunday, his first thought was that the posse had caught up with him. He was going to be fired.
Instead, Hager was shocked by what he heard from Roby. The university was effectively firing the entire football program. In a stunning announcement — privately delivered to players Sunday night and publicly announced Monday — Northeastern said it was dropping football.
The football team simply wasn’t worth it. Northeastern spends more than $4 million a year on the program, but in Hager’s six years as coach the Northeastern Huskies had never had a winning season.
This does not mean that footfall coaches are paid appropriately, of course. Universities exist to educate students. College athletics are necessarily, even by definition, secondary. But at least no one is going to eliminate the history department.